The William & Mary Board of Visitors has decided not to reverse the decision of the college’s president Gene Nichol to remove the cross from the Wren Chapel. Instead, it will defer any decision on this issue until the panel Nichol appointed to explore the role of religion at a state university issues its report. The Board calls for the report to be issued in April.
I had understood that Nichol appointed the panel not to review his decision, but to study broader issues and perhaps identify other religious objects or expression that might offend non-Christians. But maybe I misunderstood. At a minimum, that’s not how the Board views things.
The Board takes Nichol mildly to task for the high-handed way in which he made his decision on the cross, but affirms its confidence that Nichol’s decision is rooted in his deep affection for William & Mary. Nichol taught law at W & M for a few years in the 1980s, and has been the college president for less than two years. He’s a long-time member of the ACLU. One wonders whether his decision to remove was rooted more in dedication to ACLU dogma than in affection for the college.
UPDATE: I’m told (and it comes as no shock) that the panel Nichol appointed is stacked in his favor. Those who want to keep the cross in the Chapel plan to take the fight to Richmond and the state legislature.
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